One night several months ago, over a game of chess and cups of tea, roommates Jeff Bond and Zac Ferrell came up with an idea.
One night several months ago, over a game of chess and cups of tea, roommates Jeff Bond and Zac Ferrell came up with an idea. The two childhood friends, now freshmen at Portland State, would give the 20-something socialites in the city an uber-cool place to hang out–not just a place to eat, but a place to chat and check out the latest fashions, all in one.
Plans for the hangout spot, a restaurant/store combination, morphed over weeks. Bond and Ferrell spent late nights talking excitedly and drafting plans. It was all very Kerouac-esque.
“At one point, I said I might be willing to drop out of school for this,” Ferrell said.
Soon, however, financial reality set in.
“We obviously didn’t have a lot of money,” Bond said.
But the two were not discouraged. Instead, they decided to pursue their idea through a more plausible venue: the internet. Their ideal business shifted from a physical shop to a virtual one. Through an online store, Bond and Ferrell wanted to sell fashionable clothing to promote the styles they like, as well as what new, independent designers are coming out with.
This is how Absolute Attire was born.
“You can have a virtual store on anything online,” Bond said. “It’ll be like you’re shopping at a store, flipping through the racks. The hope is to have a pretty extensive clothing line.”
Bond and Ferrell purchased the domain name for the website in December and registered their LCC with the state of Oregon in January. They’re now in the final stages of finishing the website and hope that AbsoluteAttire.com will be fully operational by the end of spring.
“What we have right now is a look and feel of our website,” Bond said. “We don’t feel that we have enough inventory yet.”
The idea to go online with the store appealed to the creative duo because of the success of so many independent and unknown artists, mostly musicians, via MySpace.com. The intensely popular website, fueled by the need to be “in the know,” is a testament to how fast the word can spread over cable lines.
“What we’re trying to do is networking,” Ferrell said.
Bond and Ferrell said they hope to establish Absolute Attire as a well-known place where people can go to find the different clothing styles that they’re looking for, as well as items they wouldn’t see anywhere else.
“It’s about getting them all on one site and having them sit together,” Bond said about the different designers.
The clothing on the website will be largely made by independent clothing designers, many of which are local, but Bond and Ferrell have also found potential clients in the Portland music scene. They are encouraging musicians to sell their clothing merchandise through Absolute Attire. Bond and Ferrell look at band T-shirts as fashion entities in themselves, not necessarily as endorsements for a band’s music.
“We really want to focus on fashion. It’s about artists designing their art,” Bond said. “The point is that we’re looking at clothing, not for someone to be like, ‘Oh, that’s my favorite band.’ Of course, there will always be some of that, and it’s not necessarily bad.”
Bond, who is mainly the marketing and PR person for the site, is currently the drummer for a local band called Asphalt Thieves, but can rattle off the names of eight bands he’s been a part of. He said he’s made client contacts, both band-related and not, by networking through the independent music and art scene in Portland.
Ferrell, a business major, works more with the logistics and the technological side of the business. He explained that what makes their website unique is that it operates on consignment. Absolute Attire serves as a place for the exchange of merchandise from designer to customer, and at no point do Bond and Ferrell own the clothing. Ferrell said this will allow smaller designers to sell through the website with lesser quantities. He explained that larger clothing sellers often require an initial quantity of merchandise that is not feasible for less established designers to produce.
“The idea was to work with independent artists. From the client side we want to promote the little guy,” Ferrell said.
Bond and Ferrell hold the clothing that is sold through Absolute Attire and provide the shipping. All unsold merchandise can be returned to the designer due to the terms of consignment. This prevents the designer from losing money if the clothing does not sell, and prevents stacks of unnecessary clothing from piling up in Bond and Ferrell’s apartment.
“We’re accepting everything and giving everything a chance,” Bond said.
Though excited about the website, Bond and Ferrell hope the success of AbsoluteAttire.com will someday translate into the physical boutique of their dreams.
“The goal is to have an actual storefront,” Bond said.
For now, the business partners are busy putting the finishing touches on their premiere website. Anyone interested in selling clothing through Absolute Attire should go to the website or contact Bond at [email protected].